Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Unkind! Submariner's Quote

If it were not so true, I would be reluctant to identify the author (a submariner) of a quote like the following:
"i sailed aboard a rustbucket submarine, the good old pierwolf SSN-575. pierwolf because she ALWAYS found a way to delay getting underway, unable to let go of the relative comfort and safety of a shipyard homeport pier. " - US Navy submarine veteran who a works at a research reactor for a california university.

Now, before anyone draws false conclusions about the legendary 575 boat being welded to any pier, you will find her mentioned in Blind Man's Bluff, and here, here, and here.

See the crumpled bow from her unofficial ship's stationery (above)? The Wolf was damaged in a collision with something underwater (very nerve shattering). This was after its dangerous, liquid-sodium coolant nuclear reactor had to be replaced, but before compound malfunctions (not a drill) and a most fortuitous recovery saved the ship and crew from a submariner's worst nightmare (you had to be there).

The Wolf was in commission (useful for taxpayers) for 30 years and a day, longer than most boats before or since. Besides some classified missions and modest notoriety throughout her life, she was also a platform for many, bold experiments (photo). Not all worked this well, but some directly benefited our early space program. By the time bothenook served aboard her, she had been used very hard and saved from several awful fates with much difficulty. A rather special submarine, Seawolf went on to complete still more important missions.
From my friends in the day, I am fairly certain the majority of submarines and submariners have fairly similar and hair-raising experiences throughout their useful lives.
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Underestimating Current Submarine Technology

November 29, 2007 - Iran launches second homegrown submarine - 'This advanced submarine is equipped with the latest military and technological equipment,' state media quoted the commander of the navy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari, as having said.

From a May 14, 2005 post Tehran's Submarine Gambit: A Modernized Hunley? The Ali Ghadir, and Iran’s fledgling “nuclear industry were declared icons in Iran's competition to become Islam’s center of manufacturing excellence. Sold to terrorists and successful only once in damaging a supertanker, it would send global oil futures higher than anyone has yet dreamed and it would unite "dormant Islamic radicals" behind the banner of world hegemony. We are seeing the modern equivalent of the H. L. Hunley. Lets not forget the desperation behind such “fish-boats.” Iran is to the Muslim world what Alabama was to the Southern states. So, an oil tanker like India's Seagall could become a modern Housatonic for Iran.

In August 2000, Iran launched its first domestically produced mini-submarine. The Iranian news agency said that the Al-Sabehat-15 submarine was designed to plant mines and carry out reconnaissance missions. Suppose Ahmadinejad allowed suicide terrorists to steal one of these swimmer delivery boats? We know already that he would deny responsibility. Fortunately, these craft cannot make a move without being virtually tracked and targetted.


Nov. 28, 2007 - United Tech to build submarine fuel cell - SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) - Manufacturing conglomerate United Technologies Corp.'s (NYSE:UTX) UTC Power unit said Wednesday it will continue developing a fuel cell module to power the Spanish Navy's S-80 submarine. 'If implemented, the 300-kilowatt proton exchange membrane power source would allow the 2,500-ton S-80 submarine to stay underwater longer than diesel submarines', UTC Power said.

Earlier M.E. Speculation from April 21, 2006 - The DOD sees big advantages to deploying AIP subs in anyone's fleet. Unit cost is closer to $100 million than over $2 billion for the latest Virginia class submarines. Operating costs and deployment cycles are much lower, as well, without nuclear powerplants and nuclear operator training. While U.S. companies will build these subs, Sweden will not sell upgraded stealth technology to foreign countries, because Sweden will provide AIP and perhaps other key hardware to Electric Boat. The U.S. boats will be between 236 and 256 feet in length, around 3,000 tons displacement and still crewed by 30 sailors (with room for 20 or so SEALs or mission hardware).
While AIP costs have risen (more than doubled), M.E. stands by the original prediction.



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Something Submarine: Bomb Dosposal

You may believe the headline, or not: November 27, 2007 ... Navy deal for bomb disposal sub

The Naval Sea Systems Command awarded a $2.7 Million contract for a prototype underwater bomb disposal vehicle to be used by the Navy. The HAUV is intended to navigate precisely on a curved ship's hull in order to inspect it, according to Bluefin.
... the HAUV (hovering AUV) is for ship hull inspection.

Closely held Bluefin Robotics Corp.'s products are capable of reaching the sea floor almost anywhere in the world and robust enough to be deployed in the Antarctic and the Labrador Sea, the MIT team has proven that AUVs can be a reliable, affordable tool. The inexpensive 6000 meter capable hovering autonomous underwater vehicles are intended for rapid deployments.

The HUAV is equipped with a Doppler Velocity Log, Inertial Measurement Unit, compass, Global Positioning System and a high-resolution DIDSON imaging sonar. Its lithium-polymer battery gives more than three hours of operation.

Products are specialized for three markets:
+Scientific research.
+Deep-water oil field surveying.
+Naval mine warfare and general clandestine battlespace preparation.

Detecting explosives attached to a ship's hull is certainly a mission in which the U.S. Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Localization System (EOD HULS) program has expressed interest.

Is hull survey the objective in producing an improved Bluefin-12 (HAUV) prototype worth $2.7 million? Bluefin-12 communication specs include Iridium modem with encryption hardware and P-code GPS.

M.E. suspects the other, more mysterious objective refining Bluefin-21 (BPAUV): general clandestine battlespace preparation. The Bluefin-21 (as in 21" diameter) BPAUV covertly gathers accurate bathymetry and bottom classifications for use in the early stages of battlespace preparation. It can operate in a wide range of weather conditions, day or night, without compromising data accuracy and can be deployed from ____ . With a range of 4o nm battery (400nm fuel cell).

Sending submarines for preinvasion reconaissance is a relatively slow, high-risk and high cost proposition reminiscent of WWII methods. Collected info on a beach in that era , for instance, might include charts, photos and other details on:
Location: (description; dimension; gradient; physical consistency); Surf and current; Hydographic Information; Terrain Inland; Beach Defense; Shore defenses, etc.

Submarines can extensively monitor electonic emissions, collect high tech, even video photography, and deploy UAVs for improved mine countermeasures and sea floor data collection, for instance. The time between survey and strike has been compressed from weeks to hours. Even edgy types like Amadinejad and Chavez can still be surprised if and when surprise became necessary.

M.E. has only touched the surface of the possible. Iran's frantic haste to produce nuclear warheads may cause its own scientists to take short cuts that accidentally release deadly radiation again. That may be more probable.



Monday, November 26, 2007

Timing Spotlights the Reason for China's Abysmal Treatment of Kitty Hawk

What the Air Force News Network Reported
Nov. 20, 2007 - - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN) -- B-2 Spirit stealth bombers from the 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron simulated attacking naval vessels in their home port while over Hawaii Nov. 15 on a Koa Lightning exercise mission. ... These sorties, which are well over 20 hours in duration, tout the Air Force's unique capability to send long range bombers over any target, anywhere in the world, at any time. ...

What happened next
Nov. 21, 2007 -Reuters reported that China had refused permission for the USS Kitty Hawk Carrier Support Group to visit Hong Kong for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday (Nov. 21st).

What happened next
Nov 22, 2007 - China opens Hong Kong to U.S. carrier - HONG KONG (Reuters) - China blocked a long-planned Thanksgiving visit to Hong Kong by a U.S. aircraft carrier group, then abruptly changed its mind on Thursday. But it was too late to save the holiday visit.

Potent Reminder the Chinese have known for at least a month
Nov. 22, 2007 - [The B-2s] have been flying test runs over Hawaii and Alaska since the Pentagon began rotating bombers through Guam in 2004. But they only started dropping inert bombs on the Big Island's Pohakuloa Training Area last month. ... The planes are equipped to drop "smart" bombs, or weapons guided to their targets by GPS technology. But they don't use it in the Hawaii drills. Instead, the airmen rely on gravity _ and extensive data on wind speed and elevation _ to deliver their unarmed bombs to the right spot. [color emphasis added]

Why the use of antiquated, gravity bombing drills may be of consequence to our Chinese 'allies'
If the answer to that eludes you, you may refresh your memory here:
May 10, 2007 - China's Greatest Military Threat is no longer its Submarines If the Chinese can render trillions of dollars worth of communications, positioning, targeting and aquisition satellites useless for pennies on the dollar, countries relying on such military technology would be reduced to (but ill-prepared for) conducting military defense and offense as it had been decades earlier.

The B-2 Spirit bomber made its debut on Nov. 22nd (1988) as shown in the AF YouTube video:

Capable of Accurate Targeting
Even without GPS! ...

The stated purpose for the B-2 bombing practice in Hawaii is for the DPRK's (North Korea's) notice. Perhaps the Chinese have extrapolated a truer target, and perhaps they are still humiliated by this unfortunate incident caused by with one of their submarines.



Saturday, November 24, 2007

Latest Media Flub: What's Wrong with This Submarine Story?

November 20, 2007, BOSTON - Northrop Grumman awarded $85 million contract for U.S. Navy submarine work (Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) Corp. said Tuesday it was awarded a $85 million contract option from the U.S. Navy to work on submarines located in Los Angeles, Ohio, Seawolf, and Virginia.
The above excerpt is a stark example of defective journalism and why M.E. believes journalists should be certified to report only in their area(s) of specialization, or required to admit amateurism or to include disclaimers of working knowledge in areas in which they are not specialists.

The reporter who wrote the above may be qualified to report financial news, but he/she tends to be misleading for the unwary when it comes to Navy submarine classes and U.S. GEOGRAPHY.

This Idaho Bubblehead is the only guy I know who was probably born in a location called Seawolf (would that be a U.S. city or a state)? Wait a minute, maybe there is still a submarine shipyard in Ohio? No, that was in Wisconsin. Even the Manitowoc shipyard closed in 1968. Failures of our fourth estate (the press) are rarely so obvious. Which is more frightening, uninformed journalists or uninformed voters who must depend upon them? Why do we need more reliable reporting when voters cannot be required to be able to read? How do illiterates mark their ballots? Who gives them such instructions? Relax, we have TV?!



The Kitty-Hawk Chinese Sub Incident is Back: Suck a Hundred Year Egg, China!

PREDICTION: Chinese comeuppance before, during or after Olympics? China has humiliated the United States by suddenly barring a prescheduled, Thanksgiving visit to Hong Kong. What will the U.S. do? Will back-channel diplomacy or Olympic unsportsmanlike conduct exact retribution? No, the U.S. is too statesman-like to pull China's clumsy tactics. Options are numerous, but continued devaluation of the dollar against the yuan is the natural. Ouch, China! You were warned years ago to float your currency like other nations. The entire world remembers that you resisted. Your U.S investments are now worth how much less? Go suck a hundred year egg, China!

FLASHBACK: October 19, 2007 - China warns against 'political' Olympics - "We believe that any political issue that has nothing to do with the Olympics should not be linked to the Beijing Games," Liu Jingmin, executive vice president of the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games, told a news conference on the sidelines of a Communist Party Congress. ... In case anyone should try to organise protests at the Games or otherwise try to disrupt them, Liu warned that security forces would be on high alert.

UPDATE: November 24 2007 - Refusal baffles US admiral - A top US military commander is "perplexed and concerned" about the mainland's last-minute refusal to allow a US aircraft carrier to enter Hong Kong for a previously scheduled port visit. Admiral Timothy Keating said he was unaware of any reason for China's decision to turn away the Kitty Hawk. Asked if the incident would hurt military ties, Keating said: "We'll keep working on it of course, but it is difficult for me to characterize this in a positive light."

UPDATE: November 23 2007 - Families adapt after China denies USS Kitty Hawk’s request to visit - In some cases, those families and friends found themselves paying for hotel rooms at higher rates because the cheaper, block-rates for the sailors had been canceled. Some people who arrived late in Hong Kong on Wednesday night may have been charged a higher hotel rate than the one offered through MWR, Lt. Bill Clinton, the carrier’s spokesman, wrote in an e-mail Friday night. All of the hotels should have honored the MWR rate for subsequent nights, he wrote.

UPDATE: November 22 2007 12:08 - China reverses decision to bar US carrier - The Chinese government on Thursday reversed its decision to bar a US carrier group from visiting Hong Kong, but the about-face came too late to save the Thanksgiving holiday for 8,000 American sailors, airmen and their families.”The ships will not be coming back,” a spokesman for the US consulate in Hong Kong said. ”They are 300 miles out to sea and there is a storm in the area.” ... [T]he carrier group was steaming for its home port in Yokosuka, Japan.

UPDATE: Nov 21, 2007 10:22pm EST - U.S. aircraft carrier denied access to Hong Kong - HONG KONG (Reuters) - China has refused permission for a U.S. aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels to visit Hong Kong for a long-planned Thanksgiving holiday visit, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday. ...Hundred of relatives of crew members of the USS Kitty Hawk had flown to Hong Kong to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. ...Last year, a Chinese submarine surfaced uncomfortably close to the Kitty Hawk near the Japanese island of Okinawa, an incident that highlighted the potential for friction between the two powers. Here is the full article and much more.

The uninvited guest: Chinese sub pops up in middle of U.S. Navy exercise, leaving military chiefs red-faced - 10th November 2007 - By MATTHEW HICKLEY

"American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board." [color emphasis added]

Recent exercise? A Year ago? Where does this journalist get his news, library archives? Continue reading for the new wrinkle.

To be fair, the author managed to select a good quote and very excellent photos of the Kitty Hawk and Chinese Song class submarines. I particularly like the detail of the carrier (see the larger photo in his story). As far as news, however, there was none. To see current Chinese subs with very nice soundtrack, try this YouTube:

Can anyone ID the great soundtrack, or the submarine class shown at 35 seconds?

Here is what I had said a year ago (even before two experts backed me up):
Telling journalists that the Chinese had been detected would be telling too much, that is, that they had been expected and were being electronically monitored for future reference. But, perhaps China's sub had been helped into the provocative act of surfacing amidst a U.S. task force. Neither China nor the U.S. would be anxious to admit that, would they?

Now, the new wrinkle:
As it turns out, the possible provocative act could even have been initiated by a third party, such as (some of these are intentionally unrealistic so there would be no finger pointing) VMF, MARCOM, RN, RAN, ROKN, JMSDF, PMW, or others.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



Friday, November 23, 2007

Gas Prices Have Risen Since September 01, 2005

UPDATE: Hugo Chavez; Nov 23 07:21 PM US/Eastern - Chavez: Only a 'Traitor' Will Vote No - CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez warned his supporters on Friday that anyone voting against his proposed constitutional changes would be a "traitor," rallying his political base before a referendum that would let him seek unlimited re-election in 2012 and beyond. Brandishing a little red book listing his desired 69 revisions to Venezuela's charter, Chavez exhorted his backers to redouble their efforts toward a victorious "yes" vote in the Dec. 2 ballot. ... The proposed revisions would do away with presidential term limits, extend terms from six to seven years, let Chavez appoint regional vice presidents and eliminate Central Bank authority, among other changes.

The Post card above is based on an original 1903 print appearing in Le Petit Journal, a leading illustrated news magazine published in France from 1891 until WWII. The card depicts French submarine officers (geezers in dark suits) shooting porpoises in the Mediterranean Sea, as sailors gaff the wounded alongside. Porpoises have been a European delicacy (read fast, the original .edu link has been deleted for 'PC' reasons, and this LINK may be the last remaining true reference) since at least medieval times. The catch would have been deliciously prepared by a sousmarin sous chef. Today the species is protected, as are submarine secrets.

Among the things I do is collecting interesting post cards. This is one of my favorites, as I admire traditional French intellect: science, philosophy, culture and cuisine, not their lazy socialism prior to Nicolas Sarkozy.

September 1st, 2005 was the date on which we predicted: Submarines At Fault or Will Gas Prices Rise?

Now, unfortunately, it seems to have been an accurate prediction. Prices have risen over $1.00 / gallon. Guessing the method used to locate Venezuela's newest oil field was the airgun array geological survey of the seafloor by the petroleum industry. El Presidente Chavez, are you responsible for killing dolphins, too?



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Never Forget the Submariners When You Hear "Happy Thanksgiving!"

The photo vividly describes what he is talking about. At 27 April, 2007 18:22, Subvet said (here) ...
I'm reminded of my last command, USS Archerfish SSN 678, when we were training with a SEAL team. We had their senior enlisted man (also their #1 sniper) wanting to learn how to be a planesman. After getting trained up he was given the final "grilling" that was standard for all nonquals. This included donning an EAB with the lights out in Control, shifting to emergency on the stern planes and rudder while transiting to the periscope depth. Tough sure, but I believe we've all "been there, done that", no? When he was finally relieved his first comment (said with a colossal grin) was, "You f****ers are crazy!" Rather a bit of a compliment, don't ya think?

And at 27 April, 2007 16:30, SonarMan had said...
On submarines, when the shit hits the fan, there's only one way to run... Right into it. Nobody with a living brain cell can ever, ever call a submarine sailor a coward just because he's not dodging bullets somewhere.

More to remember about submariners sacrifices:

We had one crewman need a sedative when a practice, MK 45 ASTOR dented our superstructure (in a friendly 'attack' exercise) just inches from the rack where he had been sleeping. A 'nuclear torpedo' hit that close and personal was an alarm clock from hell for him. As you might imagine, we found humor and thought what our own reactions would have been. - Vigilis

We never had to go off station because we couldn't fix or adapt to a broken piece of equipment. We never had to go off station because someone got hurt or because of family problems back home... You, the men of the Augusta, fixed it when it got broken and you, the families of Augusta, handled problems as they arose and made sure the ship could continue to perform, ‘Any Mission, Any Time,' ” Haumer said. “I thank you.” - Cmdr. Mike A. Haumer, CO, USS Augusta (SSN-710)

"The Submarine Force is important to the defense of our national interests. It has the only truly stealthy platforms in our armed services and is the heart of our strategic nuclear deterrent." - Retired Admiral Bruce DeMars

Extreme Creatures ...
Who suffer no attrition upon news their kind are sunk,
Who endure sunless weeks on end in want of their own bunk.

Disturbed from precious sleep by those dreaded, alarming sounds,
When the latest hazard has sprung out of its nearby bounds.
Sacrifices are certain for these devoted volunteers,
Qualifications demanded by a jury of their peers.

In clear illustration of “24-7’s” meaning,
There is no phoning home during silent submarining.
- Juan Caruso Davenport HM1(SS) (nom de plume)



Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Nov 19, 2007 - TAIPEI, Taiwan -- ROC Navy to have first female warship captain - After graduating from the ROC Naval Academy along with 19 other female high school graduates, Lt. Commander Hsieh Ai-chieh, 30, will set a precedent in the Navy of the Republic of China to lead the 500-ton domestically-developed Chinchiang-class, Fast Attack Missile Craft. Hsieh is married and gave birth eight months ago. source

Nov 15, 2007 - US approves PAC-2 support system sale - Washington has approved the sale of more than US$900 million in upgraded ground support materiel for Taiwan's three Patriot-II anti-missile batteries, a move that is expected to improve Taiwan's capability to fend off a ballistic missile attack by China. ... It also came as the White House maintains a freeze on Taipei's request for 66 advanced F-16 fighter aircraft, reportedly in retaliation for President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) insistence on going ahead with an election-day referendum on Taiwan's entry into the UN under the name "Taiwan." source

Nov 13, 2007 - China urges U.S. to stop arms sales to Taiwan - BEIJING, (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday urged the United States to immediately cancel arms sale programs, stop arms sales and military links with Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks when asked to comment on U.S. Department of Defense's recent announcement of planning to sell 3 sets of Patriot II anti-missile equipment upgrade systems and affiliated equipments worth of 939 million U.S. dollars to Taiwan. source

May 5, 2007 -Defense News – "To further complicate the problem, the legislature has whittled the procurement deal down by eliminating the PAC-3s and submarines and replacing the package with a study on submarine designs, an upgrade for Taiwan's current PAC-2s and the 12 P-3s – and still that budget has been delayed by additional political wrangling…." source

YouTube video, ROC (Taiwan) Seadragon Sub ...

Taiwan Seadragon Submariners

Does the TAIWAN: CHINA stalemate parallel the CUBA: U.S. situation? We do not believe it does, but suppose Fidel Castro had advised Hugo Chavez that the U.S. plans to make Cuba its 51st state upon Castro's demise? Hugo claims U.S. imperialism is justification for his seeking nuclear weapons. What U.S. imperialism? Could such bogus advice from Castro be the reason:

"God willing, with the fall of the dollar, the deviant U.S. imperialism will fall as soon as possible, too," Chavez said after a two-hour closed meeting with Ahmadinejad, the Iranian state news agency IRNA reported. source and

Nov 16, 2007 - US lawmakers alarmed by Chavez's plan for nuclear energy program in Venezuela - source .



Monday, November 19, 2007

High Powered Submarine Lasers and Toys

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the arm of the Department of Defense responsible for new military technologies. DARPA attempts to identify technology breakthroughs by evaluating those with both revolutionary advantage and near-term feasibility. The most promising projects meeting such criteria are provided further funding to refine military applications.

DARPA is independent of captive (military branch) R&D efforts, and is accountable to senior Pentagon management. An average of 240 employees oversee a variable budget (currently averaging a pittance (only $3.2 billion).

Whatever comes out of DARPA publicly is intended as much for our enemies as taxpayers. In other words, a lot goes on that we never hear about. To my mind that is generally appropriate.

Then, when stuff does come out, the avowed purpose can seem just as sensible to taxpayers as it appears threatening and transparent to potential aggressor nations. Consider the Airborne Laser (ABL) mounted into a Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet, for instance: ... [It] Operates autonomously, above the clouds, outside the range of threat weapons but sufficiently close to enemy territory ... accurately point and fire the high-energy laser, destroying enemy missiles near their launch areas.

Have you got that? Now, wouldn't it also be superb at knocking squadrons of attacking bombers or fighters out of the sky? Next, take a look at this:

With much less weight consideration and a huge increase in power availability, the guts of the high-power laser fits nicely into an SSN. Of course, the mission would not be ballistic missile defense, would it? Preposterous, you say?

Have you heard about H.R. 607: Military Toy Replica Act (To prohibit defense contractors from requiring licenses or fees for use of military likenesses and designations)? It may not be going anywhere (its predecessor died in the 109th Congress), but I would like to remind readers of the sometimes eerie connection between military toys and undisclosed, military planning revealed much, much later. The Aurora plastic model kit for SSN 575 included a deck-mounted missile launcher. Seawolf never had one of those, but over 20 years later she got something that looked similar.

Here is a cheap toy submarine, and no, the light is not a laser: R/C X-SUB World's Smallest Mini Radio Remote Control RC Submarine Available cheap at Amazon. There is a 23 second YouTube, too:

Thinking outside of the box

What do you think its mission would be if the turret laser were mounted atop the submarine's hull? High-powered CO2 laser beams can be invisible in air.



Sunday, November 18, 2007

Those Were the Days, My Friend; We Thought We'd Make Them End

Did Monty Python Know About This?

A recent headline (H/T Sub Report ) brought back memories: British nukes protected by bicycle lock keys - BBC Two:

Britain is the only nuclear weapons state which does not have a fail-safe mechanism to prevent its submarines launching a nuclear attack without the right code being sent, according to tonight's Newsnight on BBC Two. The programme also reveals that until less than ten years ago, the locks on RAF nuclear bombs were opened with a bicycle lock key.

The BBC alleges that British Trident nuclear submarine skippers can still launch their missiles -- without authorization codes ( Permissive Action Links or PALs ) from Whitehall. According to the BBC, the Ministry of Defence claims that safeguards built in by other countries were not relevant to British submarines. Trident commanders can still launch a nuclear attack without any command from Whitehall, if the worst comes to the worst. Why is Britain unique?

According to this, Posted by one Alex G. Nov 16, 2007 10:49:57 AM

... The Vanguard-class boats are a second-strike deterrent, so the patrolling boats need to be able to launch even if Britain (along with the Prime Minister, who has the launch codes) no longer exists. They still (AFAIK) use a dual-key system, so a single insane captain couldn't launch the missiles. It works like this: There's a safe on the boat, containing the trigger device and the Prime Minister's instructions in case of the destruction of Britain. Only the weapons officer and his deputy know the combination to the safe- the captain doesn't, and it's committed to memory not written down. The captain does, however, have a key without which the trigger device doesn't operate. So launching the missiles requires:The weapons officer to open the safe and connect the trigger to a control panel. The captain to turn the key in a different control panel.

Which still leaves two questions for Monty Python's Flying Circus to investigate:

Why bicycle lock keys? My submarine was a cramped, SSN - not a relatively spacious missile boat (SSBN), whose crews were often referred to as coners. Coners had something we never did - exercise bicycles. The 'B' in SSBN probably stands for bicycles with ballistic wheels.
So having bicycles aboard was a handy excuse for American officers to wear bicycle keys around their necks at all times like their British counterparts. This was intended to confuse Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Hugo Chavez and Ahmadinejad.

Are coners reliable types who can be trusted to do their jobs reliably considering access to nuclear warhead launch controls? To assure their mental faculties remain on even keel, recreational diversions are provided on missile sub decks (photo).
For concerned citizens who have never been submariners: this has been satire. Only coincidentally, does SSBN stand for Submarine stationary bicycle neurosis.



Friday, November 16, 2007

Can 'Deep Siren' be Set to Stun?

Raytheon just got a $5.2 million contract to refine the Deep Siren communications system. The proven system allows submarines to communicate extended distances (150 miles or more) in real time at usual operating speeds and depths. No longer is there danger of revealing position to establish secured (encrypted) satellite communication with surface commanders anywhere in the world.

Deep Siren brings submarines more fully into JC3I (joint Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) compatibility. This means improved participation in the spectrum of fleet operations.

The early version was described as a paging system (one-way communications). This graphic and various descriptions clearly show 2-way communications, however. Buoys are one option, but would certainly hint a submarine within 150 miles (or much closer in shallower waters), so if a skimmer threw a buoy out near a boatload of bubbleheads, it could risk making them sitting ducks, not to mention falling into the wrong hands.

There must be (security would demand so) a lot missing from system descriptions. Let's suppose what has just been announced to the world is slightly more devious than even the 'pager system.' Suppose some of those acoustic buoys could be set to stun by dropping them in the wrong areas as decoys (surprise), or by going active to paint submerged targets (surprise) for all attackers? Who cares if a name really fits when advantage is needed?

Another option is a towing the apparatus behind the skimmer. Not so difficult to believe some are still describing a paging system, is it? More here, but the ranges are low. Here is a public data sheet. Very nice.

Submarines, of course, are always silent and strange.



Thursday, November 15, 2007

Submarine Technology from Ancient Sumarian Texts

Author Zecharia Sitchin published The 12th Planet in 1976 . Among the rather interesting items translated from ancient Sumerian texts is mention of elippu tebiti ("sunken ship - what we now call a submarine). Such submarines were possibly used to retrieve minerals, including gold from the seabed.

According to the timeline given, gold-mining operations commenced more than 360,000 years ago. The same timetable includes periods of glaciation and interglacial warmth between actual ice ages. A very interesting book, although the planetary stuff in the early chapters is well beyond my comprehension and interest. Readers unfamiliar with Sitchin's scholarship may be pleasantly surprised by ample illustrations of tablets, technology and language that referred not only to space travel, but actually included vapor trail - a concept that must have otherwise pre-existed any known use until the 1900s.

Sumer ("Land of the Lords of Brightness") was the earliest known civilization of the ancient Near East, located in lower Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Its earliest records date to the mid 4th millennium BC (6,000 years ago). The term "Sumerian" applies to all speakers of the Sumerian language.

If the acclaimed scholar Sitchin is correct in his translation of sunken boats, the submarines he mentions predate any this writer has been able to learn of elsewhere.

Here is a related YouTube with Sitchin himself explaining:

That was Zecharia Sitchin...

It has now been years since I have read the 12th Planet, but there was enough in there to justify re-reading it.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Video Review: Das Boot Meets the Donner Party

The Contest
The clear winner of The 2007 Insomnia Film Festival is Apple Inc. What a brilliant promotion of its state-of-the-art digital video editing and special effects products. Apple challenged all high school and college filmmakers to write, cast, shoot, edit, score, and upload a 3-minute, short video in just 24 hours.

The catch? Entries had to include elements from a specified list of special props, dialogue, settings, etc. Of course, there is professional judging, too. The 25 entries with the highest public rating on November 9 at 12:00 a.m. EST will be screened by industry professionals. Contest finalists and winners' names will be announced by Apple Inc. during the week of November 19, 2007.

My Review of 'Yeti on a Submarine'
Wow! Little Rock High School's video team produced a jewel. In barely 2-1/2 minutes a sterling cast (Levi Agee, Cory Baker, Caleb Edwards, Jared Kittler and Will Scott) act interesting scenes shot belowdecks on USS Razorback (SS 394). The plot achieves human interest, emotional undercurrents, and denouement. The difficult is made to look easy.

What really works is casting a malodorous yet warm-hearted crewman as an Abominable Snowman. This superlative imagery was a stroke of genius, quickly evoking recollections of actual auxillarymen. While a few scenes are quite raw (cannibalism is mentioned), facial expressions also suggest aberrant behavior by certain crew.

Drawbacks are indeed minor - one character's foreign dialect was not too convincing. Some might think the casting includes one instance of stereotyping. I think the contrary. Should the judges disagree, however, this deserving video would not have a prayer of winning. That would truly be a shame.

See this amazing video for yourself:

Hat Tips:...

Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum at North Little Rock AIMM Team and Eric's The Sub Report.



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Offbeat Submarine History: "You might have shaved with them yesterday"

Otto Kretschmer is considered an Ace of the Deep as commander of U-Boot U-99. From September 1939 until March 1941, he sank 47 ships (274,333 tons). He received the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, earning his nickname "Silent Otto" for his successful patrol tactics.

Silent Otto's U-boat conning tower displayed a golden horseshoe welded with its opening downward to signify good luck. Under attack from two British destroyers, Kretschmer surfaced, scuttled his boat, and lost three of his men. Kretschmer and the remainder of U-99's crew were captured by the British. Ironically, one of the British destroyers that sank his boat, also displayed a good luck horseshoe, but with its opening faced upwards for good luck. Silent Otto would spend almost seven years as a British P.O.W. He beacme a Flotilla Admiral after the war and died at 86 in August, 1998.

Crewman from a different U-Boat
Although Goebeler and his fellow recruits did not realize it at the time, they were being very carefully watched and evaluated during basic training. To his immense pride and satisfaction, Goebeler learned that he had been chosen for service in the navy's elite submarine corps.

Quote of the week
"There's no reason to say that the U-505 was a hard-luck ship," said Hans Goebeler. "No matter what happened to her, she always brought us back. She wouldn't even let anything happen to the Americans who boarded her. Those other so-called lucky ships, well, you might have shaved with them yesterday because they are all scrap now. But U-505 is on display in Chicago [at the Museum of Science and Industry]

In 1989, the U-505, the only IX.C U-Boat left in existence and the first ship captured on the high seas by the U.S. Navy since the War of 1812, was designated a national historical landmark by the United States.

Here is a great U-505 YouTube video:

Recognize the soundtrack?...



Monday, November 12, 2007

Hooray for Hugo Chavez: U.S. "Environmentalists" Defined

Caracas, Nov 9 (Prensa Latina) Venezuelan state-run Petroleos de Venezuela S. A. (PDVSA) will install submarine production facilities offshore in the east of the country, to exploit crude and gas reserves, sources of the sector said here Friday. ... the Great Marshal Sucre Project will develop 1.2 million cubic feet of gas and 18,000 daily barrels of condensed oil in the north of the Gulf of Paria. ... The objective of using this submarine technology resides in minimizing the environmental impact, reducing the placing of platforms on sea level, as well as the decrease of risk of oil escapes. ... The specialized equipment, located more than 250 meters (820 feet) deep, are completely automatized by means of the use of robotics, which will allow monitoring the process at a distance with the effectiveness for the personnel participating in the operations. [emphasis added]
The robotic equipment, located more than 250m (820-ft) deep, could be adapted to provide a filtered natural gas product directly, making it a nifty submarine refueling station for subs with natural gas fuel cells , CO2 sequestration tanks, and a DHRFC (disphotic homing retractable fuel coupler). If all U.S. Navy subs are nuclear, whose subs would be refueled? It cannot be Cuba (no subs). Might it be for a deep-diving, drug-running submarines?

Since a U.S. company is responsible for the undersea project can we dismiss this far fetched development? I believe so. What really worries me, however, is this:

PDVSA - Petroleos de Venezuela SA/CITGO, is responsible for the efficient, profitable, and dependable exploration, production, refining, transport and commerce of hydrocarbons. Petróleos de Venezuela S.A., the state-owned corporation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, ... is deeply committed to environmental protection and its main objectives are to foster the harmonic development of the country, to guarantee sovereignty of national resources, to increase endogenous development... source

Why can't the U.S. develope its undersea oil and gas resources this way? We know who is blocking us, don't we? We get 15% of our oil from Venezuela. What are environmentalists?
Environs = geographical region; mentalist = (definition found here) entertainers whose performance appears to be based on "psychic" abilities, featuring the ability to read minds, project the mind to alter the state of matter, foretell the future, and see distant and hidden objects. This branch of magic is referred to as "mentalism." People like Al Gore and Barbara Streisand are making the U.S. dumber than the young Bolivarian Republic. Shame, shame!

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's relationship with Cuba has been symbiotic, which is very smart. The two nations barter Venezuela's cheap oil for Cuba's relatively available educational and medical faculties. Teachers and doctors are exchanged for energy. The contract above was awarded to Cameron International Corporation (Houston, TX), which does sophisticated energy projects worldwide.



Friday, November 09, 2007

Veterans Day Tributes

To me, this best conveys the depth of our gratitude to veterans ...

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge—and more. - John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

Selected YouTube video Tributes:

All Veterans Tribute ... Rare, Includes WW1

Here's a nice piece of work by one of our own ... a submariner's personal tribute to WW2 submariners on etrenal patrol.

Update Great one from Canada (H/T to Cookie) '2 Minutes of silence for our veterans' November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store inDartmouth, Nova Scotia:

Finally, a tribute with great song by Keni Thomas

Stay Strong!



Thursday, November 08, 2007

Better Options for Canada's "Lemon" Submarine Fleet

UPDATE: November 9, 2007 - THE CANADIAN PRESS - Ottawa is committed to bringing all four of its Victoria-class submarines into service and isn't considering scrapping the troubled fleet, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Friday. ... When the Liberals first bought the submarines, they planned to outfit them with an air-independent propulsion system to allow the boats to operate in the Arctic. But the Defence Department shelved the idea in 2000 in the face of design complications and a projected cost of $300 million. ... HMCS Corner Brook is Canada's lone operational sub. ... HMCS Chicoutimi has been sitting in dry dock in Halifax since and last year Ottawa said it won't repair the sub until 2010. source
What this may mean: A third-party nation has agreed secretly to subsidize the cost of bringing the 4 Victorias up to safety standard. Who might that be? What did Canada trade?

The Royal Canadian Navy had existed just four years when it got its first two submarines in World War I. Canadians have even built and manned submarines for their allies. The long, proud submarining tradition continues to this day, and the images above must never be construed as derogatory toward Canada, its intrepid submariners, or their well-earned legacy. The notion of 'lemon' subs comes from Canada's own internal critics. We doubt Canada will ever buy or lease subs from the U.K. again.

Canada's four Victoria-class, diesel boats are capable of only limited operations in arctic waters and options include extensively upgrading them or buying new ones capable of prolonged, under-ice ops. 'Nobody knows precisely where it's going, but it looks to be focused on the Arctic.' said Eric Lerhe, a former commodore and Pacific fleet commander. The Prime Minister's Office is considering whether to "scrap them altogether, upgrade the existing boats or buy new," said a political source.

Is the need for Canada's submarines really justified by the a need to protect the country's arctic sovereignty? By treaty with a neighboring country, that goal might be accomplished for them. Moreover, non-nuclear submarines encounter arduous circumstances operating in the Arctic, unless purpose-built. AIP submarines would overcome such difficulties with relative ease, and at greater economy than a nuclear fleet proposed by Canada's military in 1998.

When the nuclear sub proposal was scrapped, the current lemon fleet of diesel subs was purchased used from the U.K. The present controversy is not really new. Molten Eagle posted this 18 months ago (sponsors have since vacated the internal links, however).

There are many other options, too. Some Canadians probably believe a combination of surface vessels and a SOSUS network would be more than adequate to protect their arctic territory. If this were true, one must really wonder about Sweden's need for a modern submarine fleet. Are there more options? Too many choices are available to mention here, but obviously the Canadian navy could also lease submarines as it did in 1961. Remember, submarines are always silent and strange.
Stay tuned; many secret deals may be in the works for the arctic territories. 'Major oil exporters from Iran to Russia and Venezuela are using their petro-cash to pursue agendas that undercut civilized society's security and interests.' source Consider OPEC, for instance, can Hugo Chavez lease arctic rights for Venezuela through Russia? Check out the oil meter below.



Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Truth Has Slipped Out: What Else is Really Behind "Expanding the Nuclear Navy"?

On October 12, 2000, the USS Cole set in to Aden harbor for a routine fuel stop. A terrorist action caused an explosion ripping a 35-by-36-foot gash in the ship's galley, where crew were lining up for lunch. Seventeen sailors were killed and thirty-nine injured. Flooding also damaged engineering spaces. Some would say the fuel stop might not have been made at all if this been a nuclear powered ship. Vessels of the US Navy are present, however, because Yemen is a strategic choke-point (Bab el Mandeb) that the Navy protects.

Suppose though, the USS Cole had been a nuclear powered (propulsion) ship. Damage would have been at least as deadly, more environmentally contaminating, and costly. More than Navy preparedness is behind Congress's latest move. Maintaining the viability of our national economy has always been of strategic importance:

November 5, 2007 - Congress is debating whether future naval ships should include nuclear propulsion. ... Adding a nuclear cruiser every two years to the workload would reduce the price of other nuclear ship power plants by about 7 percent. This equates to savings of approximately $115 million for each aircraft carrier and $35 million for each submarine. source
One of the major, upfront costs is recruiting, Naval Nuclear Power Schooling, retaining and deploying technically adept crews. Corporate nuclear power plant operators have relied upon ex-Navy trained employees for decades. If a shortage of these specialist was on the horizon just as the U.S. considers ramping up nuclear plant construction, congressional National Defense initiatives might require DoD action:
April 26, 2007 - Workers in short supply for U.S. nuclear power - 'Where are we going to get the educated and skilled workers to safely run the current fleet (of reactors) over extended lifetimes and the potential nuclear plants of the future?' asked Dale Klein, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 'Where are they being educated? Where are they being trained?' ... nuclear engineers and technicians who landed their jobs in the 1970s are retiring and there are few trained to take their places. ... 'We've realized the value of going after trained military workers,' said Mike Pasono, head of recruiting for Nuclear Management Company. He seeks officers and those who served on nuclear submarines.
The transition to more civilian nuclear power plants will be smoother if the Navy provides more nuclear technicians who are experienced. While the cost is at taxpayer expense, utility rate payers, will be spared. That seems sound to me, since utilities have been very highly regulated entities since the nuclear debacle at Three Mile Island. In addition to a stronger defense there are definite economies of scale: nuclear propulsion for existing submarines and aircraft carriers saves 11 million barrels of oil annually. Building two Virginia-class submarines annually saves $200 million per submarine. source
What bothers me is politicians have become too lazy or PC to level with the voting public any more. Remember to vote. Voting on a submarine was always silent and strange.
11-8-07; 11:45 corrected typos



2005 Predictions on Senator Kerry Have Both Come to Pass

After losing to Bush in '04, Senator Kerry had possibly been advised by the DNC that it would not support his nomination in the 2008 race. How do we know this? His wife, Teresa, dropped Kerry from her former Heinz-Kerry name. Obviously, the senator would not be eager to confide private news with voters. Rather than admit to being passed over for the good of the party, Kerry in 2006 botched a joke about U.S. troops, perhaps in a face-saving excuse for not running. Kerry said: "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Two years back, in November of 2005, Vigilis had predicted here:

Prediction #1: John Kerry will not run in the 2008 race to become president.

Accurate: As of January 24, 2007, Kerry decides against 2008 presidential run.

Prediction #2: He will see a new challenger for his senate seat, also.

Accurate: As on October 19, 2007, when Democrat Edward J. O’Reilly, a criminal defense attorney and third generation firefighter, opened his western Massachusetts campaign office at 178A North Pleasant Street in downtown Amherst.

So how will 63-year-old Kerry attempt to save face in light of being challenged for his seat? It is too late to make a prediction, the transparent senator has already spoken: November 06, 2007 - John Kerry: "I'm Now Prepared to Fight Off Swift Boat Veterans" Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, perhaps preparing to get back into the presidential ring one day, claims he's now armed with materials that will make war record critics from his 2004 presidential campaign go running tail between legs.



Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Up Scope: Posse Comitatus Submarines and our Quote of the Week

Posse comitatus (the power of the county) refers to the authority of county sheriffs to conscript able-bodied males to keep the peace or arrest felons. The power exists in states that have not repealed it by statute. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibits the use of U.S. troops for civil duties like domestic law enforcement short a declaration of martial law. The Act provides two exceptions: those expressly authorized by the Constitution; and those Congress expressly authorizes. For instance, Congress expressly authorized the Coast Guard to carry out drug law law enforcement duties during peacetime.

LAPD Chief Davis announced that besides his army and air force, next year he would be needing a navy, as well. He had proposed buying a police submarine, because Navy submarines were off limits to his department. Quote of the Week:

I think America is lacking in men with, if I may use the term, male go-nads, men who are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe is right. - LAPD Chief Edward Michael Davis; June 22, 1970

The Navy and Marine Corps were subsequently brought under the Posse Comitatus Act by DoD Directive 5525.5 (1986, as amended 1989) and by Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5820.7B (1988). Has that ended discussions of police submarines? Of course not:

1- November 17, 2006 - NJ State Police Use Yellow Submarine in Fight Against Terrorism

2- October 15, 2007 - Police Submariner Submarine Badge

3- November 6, 2007 - Police Submarine video:

Police Submarine - The most popular videos are here



Monday, November 05, 2007

Submarines Are Always Silent and Strange - These German Subs Are Only Strange

There may have been more to this. When BMW sells new models, are they delivered to customers before proven to work as designed? The German maker of state-of-the-art AIP subs (HDW) does less? Don't believe it. Germany and the U.S. knew Musharraf was considering suspending Pakistan's constitution. Diplomacy at its best between the U.S. and Germany perhaps took over:

Rough Timeline

October 8, 2005 - ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will purchase new submarines from Germany or any other country to fulfil the requirements of its navy, said the outgoing Naval Chief Admiral Shahid Karimullah here Friday.

February 26, 2007 - Pressure Grows On Musharraf After U.S. Vice President's Visit - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise visit to Pakistan today amid international concerns over Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's efforts to fight Al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists.Musharraf is under growing Western pressure to act against Islamic militants thought to be using Pakistan's tribal regions to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. ... U.S. intelligence officials now conclude that the terrorist infrastructure is being rebuilt in Pakistan -- and that while Pakistani troops have attacked some of their camps, its overall effort has been waning.

November 5, 2007 - ISLAMABAD -German subs deal: Senate defence body not satisfied: Several analysis were carried out on this deal and it was concluded by the concerned officials that bypassing of the process and procedures were reported as perhaps some “big gun” was interested in this controversial purchase of 'not in-service subs – Class U-214.'

November 5, 2007 - ISLAMABAD - Musharraf sweeps democracy aside - Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf over the weekend suspended the country's constitution and declared a state of emergency.

November 5, 2007 - ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Defence has sought an explanation from the Defence Ministry over the controversial purchase of German submarines U-214, which have been found to be lacking stability in rough sea conditions, having faulty Air Independent Propulsion system, vacillating periscopes and were easy to detect. ... the Air Independent Propulsion system malfunctions after few hours of sailing. [T]he sub is not that quiet as is supposed to be, so it is easy to detect it. [W]hen the sub is sailing at more than 3 knots, the periscope starts wobbling so there are troubles in looking at the target.

NOTES: Pakistan's submarine order:
Compared to Type 212, the Type 214 AIP submarine will have an increased diving depth (> 400m), due to improvements in the pressure hull materials. Four of the eight torpedo tubes will be capable of firing missiles. source

A hull shape which has been further optimised for hydrodynamic and stealth characteristics and a low noise propeller decrease the submarine's acoustic signature. source

AIP submarines running on their fuel cells produce much less sound, consequently the effective detection range of many passive acoustic sonobuoys is reduced. source

NOTES: Potential use of Pakistan's U-214 subs:
Concerns regarding the integration of a navalized "Barbur" cruise missile in the future and the unstable Pakistan government are expressed, culminating in speculations that after a possible take-over by muslim extremists these submarines would be a very threatening asset. source

Keep Your Eye On Pakistan This Week - The unrest is about one thing and one thing only: who controls Pakistan's nuclear weapons. source Moltenthought

Moltenthought directs our eyes to the important ball in-play. Sen. John McCain agrees with him, too. McCain said today he was particularly concerned about the country's possession of nuclear weapons and what would happen if such explosives fell into the hands of radical Islamists. Nuclear weapon proliferation to Pakistani submarines is a worst case scenario, in Vigilis's opinion.



Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pipe Bomb Contractor Possible Former Nuke Submariner?

Could the procurement engineer (responsible for evaluating equipment purchases for the plant) caught with a pipe bomb be an ex-submariner?
Roger W. Hurd, 61, of Hartsville, S.C., said he was unaware a pipe bomb was in the bed of his in maroon Ford pickup truck.

Hurd, a Navy veteran who served during Vietnam, had a contractor's security clearance to access the plant without escort. The utility would not disclose Hurd's employer.

Here is what had occurred Friday:
Pipe Bomb Locks Down Ariz. Nuke Plant - WINTERSBURG, Ariz. (AP) — Security officials at the nation's largest nuclear power plant detained a contract worker with a small pipe bomb in the back of his pickup truck Friday, authorities said. The Department of Homeland Security said there was no known terrorism link to the incident at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix. The worker, Roger William Hurd, told investigators he didn't know how the bomb got in his truck and was released Friday afternoon. Palo Verde officials said they pulled Hurd's security clearances and won't allow him back until they know more about what happened. source

Palo Verde's three nuclear reactors produce 3,900 megawatts, enough electricity to serve up to 4 million homes in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Located in Wintersburg, the plant is about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix. source

Is Hurd an ex-nuclear submariner (many of whom went to work in the civilian nuclear power industry)? Or did he gravitate to nuclear power as a post Navy choice? If Hurd was not a submariner, was he a nuclear power school instructor? Here are the approximate, raw odds: ex-submariner - 9%; former navy nuclear power school instructor 13%; all other possibilities 78%. Answer: Unlikely.

If anyone out there served in the Navy during Nam with one Roger W. Hurd, 61, please apprise us of his military capacity at the time.

On Friday, Capt. Paul Chagolla of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said, "There's no information to indicate that there's domestic terrorism at hand."



Friday, November 02, 2007

WeekEnd Sub Roundup - 2 Nov 2007

USS Hampton Incident Getting A 'Hard' Look
'I Think They Were Pushing The Easy Button,' Commander Of Sub Force Says
We have a group of individuals, not a single individual, but a group who were working together, and they compromised their integrity,” Donnelly said. “I think they were pushing the easy button, perhaps to avoid the pain of long hours and hard work.

Molten Eagle's opinion is that 'Hard Look' really means all the rigor with less public fanfare than the safety standdown earlier this year. The move will underscore the adequacy of existing review mechanisms and avoid further undue publicity. Instead, ELTs and CRAs fleetwide will be individually debriefed by their XOs (Engineers may be present) and the UCMJ will be addressed with recent examples at hand. Don't expect the nukes who lost their billets to find prize employment opportunities in the civilian nuclear world. They really did not escape easily, nor should they have. USS Hampton's (SSN-767) CO will fare better, since he was not part of the conspiracy. Will the underlying monitoring be streamlined as a result? No, the Navy does not operate that way. When one of the USNA grads studies the situation and proposes an elegant, cost-saving improvement, it will still take years to implement. (Would be pleased to be wrong.)

Navy's Strategy Stresses Teamwork
Cooperative Role For Submarine Force Outlined
McLean, Va. — The submarine force will play a critical role in a new maritime strategy that stresses cooperative relationships with other countries, Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly said Wednesday. ... Focused on high-level strategic imperatives for U.S. sea power to protect global trade and governance, discussions stressed that preventing wars is as important as winning them. 'Our challenge as a Navy is to apply sea power in a manner that protects U.S. vital interests even as it promotes greater international security, stability and trust.' Donnelly said.

Molten Eagle's opinion has always been that re-introduction of a few submarines to combat piracy would probably be the fastest way to protect large cargo and tanker vessels. All piracy is tied to anarchy, an environment in which terrorists thrive. Though the U.S. and its partners cut off conventional financing for terrorists, unconventional financing methods (like piracy and hostage-taking) may be attempting to fill the funding gap. Imagine the terror a SEAL team could strike in the pirates. (updated to remove extraneous word)

In case you missed this submarine site, check out the Golden Web Award winner 2002-2003 here. The Turkish site is not only distinctive, it has handy links like this (somewhat dated). The interesting terrain following Tomahawk cruise missile graphic (below) is one example. For non-sonar types, turn your sound off or there's an annoying ping.

Here is a don't miss" Chinese (model) submarine YouTube video. Can Chinese submarine technology really be lagging 10 years behind?

Not even a nuke!

Ready for a few a quick change of pace? WARNING: Bad language in this 14 second YouTube.
Oh, well, the surface navy has it up moments.



Thursday, November 01, 2007

Submarine and Artifact Answers

Yesterday, we posed three questions relative to an odd collection of artifacts from 8 famous, Navy ships and the National Defense Service Medal: What Do Their Artifacts Now Have in Common? As of this writing, readers had offered no answers whatever. So, here are the three questions with their answers:

Question #1(a): Name the submarine whose artifacts were incorporated for this special project. (Hint: Three other U.S. submarines have shared the same christening name with the one whose artifacts were actually used).

Answer: The venerable, nuclear submarine USS Seawolf (SSN-575) .

Question #1(b): Why do you suppose that particular submarine's artifacts were chosen?

Answer: USS Seawolf (SSN-575), after exactly 30 years and one day in commission, was decommissioned March 30, 1987. The bronze monument into which Seawolf artifacts were cast was dedicated about 6 months later on the anniversary of the Navy's birthday, October 13, 1987. SSN 575 easily represents the unique feats and harrowing sacrifices of all SSN crews during the Cold War period. In addition, the gesture recalls two earlier submarines (both lost: H-1 with 4 casualties, and SS-197 with all hands), as well as SSN-21, the awesome, new Seawolf.

Question #2: What feature, on display in Washington, D.C. incorporates artifacts from the eight (8) ships? (Hint: Award named for the feature have been presented to distinguished sea service veterans, including: Eddie Albert, Ernest Borgnine, Jonathan Winters, Roger T. Staubach, Tony Curtis, and James A. Michener).

Answer: The Lone Sailor© Statue (photo above) is a composite of the U.S. Navy bluejacket, past, present and future. The founders of the Navy Memorial envisioned this Lone Sailor at 25 years old at most, a senior second class petty officer who is fast becoming a seagoing veteran. He has done it all – fired his weapons in a dozen wars, weighed anchor from a thousand ports, tracked supplies, doused fires, repelled boarders, typed in quadruplicate and mess-cooked, too. He has made liberty call in great cities and tiny villages, where he played tourist, ambassador, missionary to the poor, adventurer, souvenir shopper and friend to new lands.

As part of the casting process, the bronze for The Lone Sailor© was mixed with artifacts from eight U. S. Navy ships, provided by the curator for the Navy in the Naval Historical Center at the Washington Navy Yard. The ships span the Navy's history, yielding small pieces of copper sheeting, spikes, hammock hooks and other fragments from the post-revolutionary frigates Constitution ("Old Ironsides'') and Constellation; the steamer Hartford, flagship of Admiral David G. Farragut in the Civil War era; the battleship USS Maine; the iron-hulled steamer/sailing ship USS Ranger; the World War II-era cruiser USS Biloxi and aircraft carrier USS Hancock, and the nuclear-powered submarine USS Seawolf. One last addition was a personal decoration from today's Navy, one given to sailors in war and peace, the National Defense Service Medal. [emphasis added] Read more about the Navy Memorial and the Submarine Window here.

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